Celia CD With Autographed Booklet
Dubbed "Africa’s Premier Diva" by Time Magazine, Angélique Kidjo can be described as nothing short of “one of a kind”. Angélique’s illustrious career has earned her three Grammy Awards and eight nominations, with The Guardian recognizing her as one of the world's 100 most influential women. Following her refreshing and electrifying take on the Talking Heads album ‘Remain in Light’, the French-Beninese singer is now reflecting on an icon of the Americas, celebrated salsa singer, Celia Cruz.
Celia was recorded in New York and Paris, produced and arranged by David Donatien and mixed by Russell Elevado (D’Angelo, Kamasi Washington). Angélique is joined by a host of musicians including Tony Allen and Meshell Ndegeocello, who appear on a number of songs, plus her longtime guitarist Dominic James, the Gangbé Brass Band from Benin, British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchins as well as his Sons Of Kemet trio, and more.
Over ten tracks from Cruz’s extensive catalog, but with special focus on her work from the 1950s, Angélique’s voice soars in lockstep with a grand presentation of rhythmic touchstones that delve deep into the history of music from Africa and it’s influence on the music of Cuba. Each song celebrates this idea – from the tight afro-beat groove of “Baila Yemaja,” the high octane take on “Quimbara,” the frantic energy of “Bemba Colora” to “Oya Diosa,” a lushly orchestrated ballad. Angélique’s voice soars in lockstep with a grand presentation of rhythmic touchstones that delve deep into the history of music from Africa and it’s influence on the music of Cuba. Each song celebrates this idea – from the tight afro-beat groove of “Baila Yemaja,” the high octane take on “Quimbara,” the frantic energy of “Bemba Colora” to “Oya Diosa,” a lushly orchestrated ballad. Kidjo’s album Celia divests itself of the glamour to investigate the African roots of the Cuban-born woman who became the "Queen" of salsa, a music genre invented in New York by Caribbean immigrants.
Born in Havana in 1925, Celia Cruz, a black woman, left Cuba with her first group La Sonora Matancera in 1959, when Fidel Castro toppled the dictator Fulgencio Batista from power. Celia Cruz, known for her aversion to the Castro regime, would join Tito Puente's orchestra in 1966, and her recordings for the Fania label helped to construct the legacy of salsa, the American "melting pot" in which Spanish-speaking immigrants borrowed from the intricacies of Afro-American jazz and vice versa.
Says Kidjo: "As a child I saw Celia Cruz sing in Benin and her energy and joy changed my life. It was the first I was seeing a powerful woman performer on a stage. Her voice was percussive and her songs resonated in a mysterious way with me. Many years later, I learned she was singing the Yoruba songs that were carried out of Benin 400 years before. I felt she was a long lost sister from the other side of the world. Like me, she experienced exile from a dictatorship and she was always proud of her roots, of her African roots. In the same way I wanted to bring back Rock and Roll to Africa with my Talking Heads’ Remain In Light project, I now want to pay homage to this incredible voice and those songs that reunite with their juju and Afrobeat roots."
- Number of discs: 1
- Label: Verve
- Mono/Stereo: Stereo
- Catalog Number: B003001602